New Jersey Investigates Double Voting That May Have Flipped Local Race
"I Voted" stickers are seen on a table during the Midterm Primary Election Day at Engine Company No. 2 Firehouse on June 07, 2022 in Hoboken, New Jersey.
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

An investigation is underway in New Jersey where double counting may have flipped the result of at least one local contest in the 2022 elections.

The state’s attorney general, Matthew Platkin, announced an inquiry last week, citing public reports about voting problems in Monmouth County. “Protecting New Jerseyans’ right to vote in a free and fair election is paramount to our democracy, and ensuring the integrity of that process is essential,” Platkin said in a statement. He added “a full investigation is warranted to encourage and preserve public trust in our elections, including recommendations for reforms to benefit the conduct of contests statewide.”

Several municipalities in Monmouth County, located on the coast of central New Jersey, experienced tabulation problems that were apparently only discovered two months after the midterm elections as part of Board of Elections investigation into an unrelated issue, the New Jersey Globe reported earlier this month. However, the news blog followed up with another report saying county officials were notified about the voting machine issues in November.

While multiple towns were affected, one local race in particular, the contest for Ocean Township Board of Education, was close enough where double voting could flip the results. Steve Clayton, a former board member, emerged victorious over incumbent Jeffrey Weinstein by 20 votes, however an informal tally showed Weinstein ahead by one vote.

Platkin joined forces with Monmouth County officials on January 20 in asking a court to allow a “full recount and recheck” in the towns affected by the voting system error, according to CNN. Clayton took office this month, but acknowledged the final results may change. “I’m a board member until I’m not a board member. My main concern is the integrity of the election and that whoever ends up taking the seat, the people have confidence in the outcome,” he told the Asbury Park Press.

The county’s voting machine vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), blamed “human procedural error” for what it described as an “isolated incident.” A technician, who was sent over the summer to investigate reports of slow performance in the county’s internal network, “excluded a step” that “optimizes the system database and ensures USB flash media cannot be read twice during the results loading process,” an ES&S spokeswoman said.

Platkin said his office retained the law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb, and Tyler LLP on behalf of the Division on Civil Rights on a pro bono basis to investigate whether any person or entity engaged in unlawful conduct under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. Peter Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general and federal prosecutor, was picked to lead the investigation. Harvey brings “immense experience in civil rights matters and overseeing complex and sensitive investigations,” per the attorney general’s office.

Monmouth County officials said they support any investigation by the New Jersey attorney general into the election software issue and called on the state to implement reforms. ES&S “pledges to work with Monmouth County to ensure all necessary steps are taken to ensure election accuracy,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  New Jersey Investigates Double Voting That May Have Flipped Local Race